We’ve had several stories about Woodville, Mississippi, involving quickie marriages and quickie speeding tickets.
Here’s one from Pat Alba, of Metairie, about the kinder, gentler side of Woodville:
“In the ’60s, when driving from north Louisiana to Baton Rouge, I stopped for gas in Woodville.
“At the service station was a Mississippi state policeman who, years before, had given me a speeding ticket.
“I greeted him by name. Although he did not recognize me, we had a brief, friendly visit. Then he said, ‘I’ll give you an escort to the state line.’
“When we reached the border with Louisiana, he informed me, ‘I radioed ahead, and it’s storming in Baton Rouge. So why don’t you stop at South of the Border for coffee until it blows over?’
“I’ve often wondered if the royal treatment was a nice gesture, or a novel way to enforce the speed limit.”
State of confusion
Here’s a Woodville, Mississippi, story, about a Louisiana political figure from the past.
I got the story from a state trooper who drove for the statewide elected official when he was running for reelection.
The official had a talk in Monroe, so they were driving up U.S. 61 to Natchez, where they would cross the river back into Louisiana.
The official was busy working on his talk in the back seat, and didn’t look up until the trooper stopped for gas in Woodville.
Spying three old guys sitting on a bench in front of the station, the politician got out and handed them some campaign literature and bumper stickers, and asked for their vote and support.
As the trooper drove him away, the official told him, “You know, I think I picked up some votes there.”
The trooper told me he didn’t have the heart to inform him he’d have to move to Mississippi to get THOSE votes.
Room to play
“Your articles on bus rides to Nicholls brought back memories,” says Easton Pitre, of Golden Meadow:
“I rode the bus from Golden Meadow to Nicholls Junior College from 1950 to 1952. Pick-up on the extreme end was at 7 a.m., arriving at ‘T-Nick’ at about 8:45 a.m.
“A lot of conversation at first, but the ride became boring after a while. So four of us began playing the card game Pedro. We sat in the last seats of the bus, and though awkward at first, it was a great pastime.
“After a few months, and to our surprise, our bus driver removed the last seats in his bus, and that gave us more room to play. God bless his soul — thank you, Joe.”
The music man
Larry Bourg’s memories of the Starmist Lounge on Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge jogged my memory, too.
As Larry says, the Starmist, operated by Pastime owner Joe Alesce in the late ’50s, early ’60s, was an upscale lounge and “a quiet, safe place to take a special lady friend where you could converse over cocktails and soft lighting and music from the piano bar. My wife and I are 1960 graduates of Istrouma High, and this was our favorite place before I went into the Air Force.”
I recall going there to hang around the piano bar and listen to Larry Muhoberac, a great pianist.
Larry must not have been there long, because his bio says he went on the road with Woody Herman’s band at age 20, and was later a keyboard player and arranger for a multitude of artists, including Elvis, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Barbra Streisand. Since 1986 he’s lived in Australia.
Book Bazaar news
Pat Hoth says the Book Barn at LSU ends its book collections on Feb. 5, so Friends of the LSU Libraries can “get things in order for our 40th Book Bazaar March 3-5.
“We are planning a few special things to celebrate this anniversary.”
Special People Dept.
Bettie Anderson, of Amber Terrace Assisted Living in Baton Rouge, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Thursday, Jan. 28.
Louis and Mina Radovich Trahant, of Covington, celebrate their 71st anniversary on Thursday, Jan. 28. He is a World War II veteran.
Bill and Connie Cotten, originally from Baton Rouge, now living in Gonzales, celebrate their 60th anniversary on Thursday, Jan. 28.
On Thursday, Jan. 28, Sarah and Richard Fergus celebrate their 60th anniversary.
That’s some wind!
Al Bethard, of Lafayette, offers the final word on school rest rooms, called “basements” even when they were in one-story buildings without basements:
“At the school I attended the rest rooms were called basements. Some of the rural families whose children attended our school did not have indoor plumbing.
“There was an especially strong wind one night. The next day my little brother came home from school and said, referring to a particular classmate, ‘His basement blew down last night.’”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.